Good news everyone! The wheels of bureaucracy may turn slowly, but eventually they get somewhere, even if that somewhere is only a pilot program.
I'm not sure about you all, but the fact that San Luis Obispo County's divided Board of Supervisors can unanimously—well, 4th District supervisor Lynn Compton wasn't there, but I'll count my chickens while I can—pass a new fee and funding structure to help support affordable housing may have just restored my faith in American democracy.
I know, before I get ahead of myself, I need to back up this dumpster fire on wheels, but like I said, I'm counting my chickens, not my eggs. Although, to be honest, I'm not sure we've figured out which comes first yet.
Props are due to the consortium of developers, businesses, community nonprofits, and politically divided elected officials who could come together into the Coalition of Housing Partners and actually make a change that might move us forward! Bi-partisanship is a beautiful thing, even if it does pop up between the fumes of burning garbage scattered all around it.
It only took a decade to get the Board of Supervisors to agree on something that could really change the rate at which affordable housing gets built in the county. For the last several years, the county has raised diddly-squat with an inclusionary housing ordinance that didn't make it past the second tier of a five-year ramp-up process, and every year the dogmatic split on the board squared off in their respectively stupid "no new taxes" and "but we need them" corners. The repetitive maintenance of the status quo translated to about $100,000 per year to help build affordable housing in the county, when the city of SLO managed to raise 10 times that in 2016-17!
Now, the county estimates that it could be bringing in about $2 million to $4 million per year with a three-year pilot program! Well congrats, everyone. Maybe it will pull us back from the point of no return on housing that working people can afford to live in.
So, how did the coalition manage to build a purple bridge between red and blue? No idea. That's all some back-room dealing talking out of both sides of the mouth BS that I, unfortunately, am not privy too. Maybe the shaky hand of a state government freaking out about the extremely obvious lack of housing in California is looming in the background just enough to scare our righty tighty, lefty loosey friends into compromise.
I guess time will tell if the pilot program gets yanked in three years and the affordable housing fund gets diverted to some other pet project. I hope not, but you never know what's lurking around just out of sight.
Like the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who seem to be sneakily waiting in the parking lot outside of the SLO County Jail for recently freed inmates to scoop up and deport. Yeezus H. Crisco, we can't seem to shake Trump in this Golden State of denial that the federal government has any say on the West Coast.
Sheriff Ian Parkinson gave a report to the Board of Supervisors on Dec. 4 about his department's interactions with ICE, which are now slim to none. Between March and November 2017, ICE placed 67 holds on inmates in the jail and the Sheriff's Office released 87 inmates to ICE. Since a slew of laws designed to limit local law enforcement agencies' cooperation with ICE passed in 2017, the department has held zero for ICE and released zero to ICE.
And yet, a local family was waiting in October to pick up their recently released son—who had served three months for a misdemeanor—when they say ICE agents picked him up. He's already in Mexico, speaking broken Spanish and trying to function in a country that he's never really known.
Even with the sheriff not being cooperative, ICE can still operate incognito—cyberstalking soon-to-be released inmates who might not be here legally and intercepting them in parking lots like creepy old men. It's sad but true.
And to top all of that off, ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley told New Times that the agency doesn't track arrests by county or specific locations. Uh, I don't believe you. I'm going to go ahead and say that the federal agency knows more about its own operations than it's letting on. But it's not Haley's fault that all the federal agencies have become opaque under the Trumpitarian Administration.
At least the thin-skinned orange dick-tator can't tell San Luis Obispo how tall to make its downtown. And a six-story, "institutional" looking building—also known as potential retail, office, and residential space—doesn't need our president's help to generate controversy in good ol' SLO Town. Developers can do that on their own. All they need to do is submit a project, and the NIMBY chickens come to public meetings to roost.
But in this case, I might make an exception and side with the NIMBYs of this fair city. It is a six-story building, which isn't SLO quaint. In any case, stay tuned for another battle in the war over "what SLO really is." If we could only harness the NIMBY anger over bike lanes, buildings, and "character" to protect and defend the most vulnerable in our population, then this place might be something really special. Δ
The Shredder can't get off the soapbox to mingle with the NIMBYs at firstname.lastname@example.org.